After being waylaid by a 24 hour debilitating stomach virus in Yangon, I finally made it to Toungoo, and to Bethel Children’s Home, the orphanage we have been supporting for the last year. I found it to be in pretty good shape, thanks to the amazing volunteers with hearts of gold, Virginia and Jonathan (a retired Burmese couple). There are now 24 children, up from the 17 that were here in February, and ½ of them are now girls. They seem happier, and I think the stable and calm influence of Virginia and Jonathan (who were new in February) has made a tremendous difference to these kids whose short lives have been so unstable.
I brought up for the (very long) day, Dr. Htwe Lay, a medical doctor and long time friend of our family. She did health screenings and created medical records for each of the children. We discovered than 2 brothers may have TB (their mother died from it) so I am taking them to the clinic today. Two others may have Hep B, and I will get them tested at the clinic today too. Apparently TB and Hep B are very common in orphanages in SE Asia. I am also going to work on getting the remainder of the kids vaccinated for Hep B, something Dr. Htwe Lay will help coordinate. Luckily (and amazingly), the government here actually provides free treatment for TB, so we will be taking advantage of that. This is a benefit to being relatively close to a busy town like Toungoo where there is a government hospital. Dr. Htwe Lay said she would come back next year with me to do annual check ups.
|The kids playing dodgeball with an Australian volunteer from ICC|
Already this trip has been very rewarding, and I feel like we (Myanmar Children’s Hope Fund) are making a big difference in the kids’ lives.